ROAT Press Release

Vision Coalition Sponsors 4th Annual Reach Out and Teach Benefit Concert

On Saturday, March 27th five young rock bands will hold their 4th Reach Out And Teach Benefit Concert to raise money to support schools in Africa. The concert will be held at the EDH CSD Gymnasium from 7:00 – 10:30 p.m. Local bands will be featured including Crimson Sky, All On Seven, Stephan Hogan, Melissa Lingo and One Eyed Rhyno.

In 2006, a group of students were originally inspired to organize the first concert by their teacher, Rob McClurg, who had spent time in Africa. To date, the group has successfully organized three concerts and raised approximately $22,000 for the Goma Student Fund. (www.gomastudentfund.org). Sean Clavere, a graduate from Oak Ridge High School and co-founder of the concert said, “Education is needed by the people of Goma to build their community into a peaceful future, but the experience of planning this awesome event also builds skills, knowledge, awareness and compassion for the youth in our community who participate.”

DJ Peterson, Executive Director of the Vision Coalition of El Dorado Hills, is proud to sponsor this youth-led event and said, “Music is a great way to engage local youth in a positive way in which they can truly ‘make a difference’ in their own community and abroad. The benefits extend way beyond raising money for Goma.”

The youth organizers have requested help from the community to assist in putting on this worthwhile event and have received donated space and volunteer help through partnerships with the El Dorado Hills Community Services District, Hands for Hope and the EDH Teen Council, to name a few. Currently, the teens are seeking cash donations to help with production costs such as lighting, sound, printing, and advertising.

The concert will be held at the CSD Gymnasium, 1021 Harvard Way, in El Dorado Hills. Tickets are available at the EDH CSD Office and the Oak Ridge High School Career Center. They will also be available at the door for an $8 donation. For further information on this event, please visit www.edhvisioncoalition.org or call 916-941-8482.

The Annual ROAT Concert is here!

GSF is so grateful for the continued support of the amazing team organizing the fourth annual Reach Out and Teach Benefit Concert this year. Please join us on March 27 from 7-11:30 pm at El Dorado Hills CSD, 1021 Harvard Way. Tickets are $8 and on sale now at school and at the CSD offices. Call 916-941-8482 for more details.

Reach Out and Teach III GSF Benefit Concert!

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Reach Out and Teach III
Saturday May 2nd, 7-10pm
El Dorado Hills, CA

For the third year, educators and students from the Vision Coalition of El Dorado Hills and the Teen Advisory Council are organizing “Reach Out and Teach,” a concert to benefit the Goma Student Fund. Over the last two years, these concerts have raised over $20,000 for GSF, which have both supported our ongoing programs as well as enabled us to build new infrastructure and do additional trainings.

This support has been invaluable to the success of GSF, and we are thrilled and excited that the Vision Coalition and Teen Advisory Council are putting in the incredible amount of time and effort it takes to throw such a powerful event. Beyond fundraising, this event also increases awareness and brings the attention to the plight of Goma and Congo. By building awareness and connections to the students, teachers, and families that GSF supports, this concert is building alliances across continents and different backgrounds that are at least as powerful as any fundraising could be.

For more information, see the flyer below or call 916-941-8482

In memory of Helen Walther

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The primary school in Mugunga was completed this fall with help from an incredibly generous donation from Sharon Blasgen. She and her siblings, Tom and Marilynn, reached out to support the Goma Student Fund in memory of their mother, a lifelong teacher. This plaque was created to mark her memory and their support, for which the kids, teachers, parents, and I are all extremely grateful.

How and when will things change?

It is so hard to hear that peace negotiations have stalled in Goma in the last few days.

And this NY Times article highlights how little has changed in Congo, in spite of the war officially ending five years ago.

“Five years after Congo’s catastrophic war officially ended, the rate at which people are dying in the country remains virtually unchanged, according to a new survey, despite the efforts of the world’s largest peacekeeping force, billions of dollars in international aid and a historic election that revived democracy after decades of violence and despotism.

The survey, released Tuesday, estimated that 45,000 people continue to die every month, about the same pace as in 2004, when the international push to rebuild the country had scarcely begun. Almost all the deaths come from hunger and disease, signs that the country is still grappling with the aftermath of a war that gutted its infrastructure, forced millions to flee and flattened its economy.”

Challenges on that unimaginable scale make it hard to even think about doing tiny, grassroots work like GSF. At the same time, I find myself unsure of how to think about affecting change on any other scale and gain hope from the way that our school staff has been working with the local community, with the guidance of the HEAL Africa hospital, to create our most successful school yet.

Mugunga School Begins Second Year

We’re happy to report that our lovely school in Mugunga has begun its second year. Board member Eric Nguyen (that’s me) was in Goma for the month of September to meet with the local board members, teachers, and of course the students.

With some work over the summer, we were able to expand enrollment from 140 to over 250 students. The little ones range from five to twelve years of age. They’re now all hard at work learning French, Swahili, history, mathematics, and human biology. It’s amazing, in fact, how hard they work. Even crammed four to a bench and sharing pencils and paper, I never saw students act up or talk back to a teacher. Instead, there was boundless enthusiasm, laughter, little hands stretching as high as possible to answer a question.

Occasionally, kids who we couldn’t take would stand outside the windows, watching the lesson from outside. We’ll keep growing, slowly, for them.

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The school year is underway!

With 140 students attending school in the refugee area of Mugunga.

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kids swing

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Exciting Partnerships!

GSF created two new partnerships this summer.

WFP Logo2 World Food Program will be feeding all students at the GSF-Mugunga School.

UNICEFUNICEF will be training all GSF teachers.

Staff Also, check out this new UNICEF Report: “Child Alert: DRC.” It has some striking photos and videos.

And here is a picture of the newest GSF Staff:
The teachers and director of the GSF-Mugunga School!

Construction Continues in the Mugunga Community

GSF newest school is being built in Mugunga, one of the poorest areas of Goma. It is almost completely a refugee population of Congolese escaping the violence in the outlying villages.

Construction continues on the Mugunga School. The ceilings and floors will be put in this week, so that it can host a week long teacher training. After that, all that is left is to paint!

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Graduation

Graduation!In addition to building and running its own schools, GSF partners with a local orphanage to support the operation of their school. Here is a short video from their primary school graduation.